25 January 2018
Animation, fiction, experimental — shorts of every genre, on a high artistic level, were made in the Czech Republic last year. The best of them have been selected for the new Czech Shorts collection, and will be soon available online on filmcenter.cz.
The films in the annual collections are selected each year by a jury of film professionals, who are in some way connected to short films and experienced in the field. This year’s jury consisted of Marek Hovorka, director of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival; Karel Spěšný, director of the Prague Short Film Festival; Pavel Horáček, film historian and program director of the Anifilm International Festival in Třeboň; and Dan Vadocký, sales manager at Negativ Film Production. In total, 101 shorts of every genre applied to the Czech Film Center this year, with the jury selecting 13 finalists.
Many of the films have taken part in foreign and domestic film festivals, reaping acclaim and awards. Fruits of Clouds by Kateřina Karhánková, a playful animation with a strong message, screened at the Annecy IAFF and won the main prize at Cinekid in Amsterdam. Bo Hai, a fiction short by Dužan Duong about a father-son generational clash, set in the rarely filmed milieu of the Czech Vietnamese community, won the Discovery Script Doctoring Award at the Cottbus IFF and the Best Director and Audience awards at the FAMU Film School Festival. Atlantis, 2003, directed by Michal Blaško, was selected to the La Cinéfondation section at tha Cannes Film Festival.
The new Czech Shorts collection will be online on filmcenter.cz, with all the films from previous annual collections as well as shorts featured at major international film festivals. The Czech Film Center has been involved in the promotion of Czech short films since 2010, when the first collection was released.
dir. Michal Blaško, SK/ CZ, VŠMU/ FAMU, 30 min., Fiction
Four years before Slovakia joined the Schengen Area, Martin and Denisija, a young couple from Ukraine, are trying to get to Germany illegally through Slovakia. Neither of them have never been to Germany, and they are ready to sacrifice all they have to reach their dream destination.
dir. Dužan Duong, FAMU, 24 min., Fiction
They think like Czechs, speak like Czechs, but look Vietnamese. Bo Hai looks at the relationship between older and younger generations of Vietnamese in the Czech Republic. The parents moved to Europe in the ’80s and ’90s and started their own businesses. The children, although integrated into majority society, they have lost an emotional connection to their parents and their culture.
Friendly Sport Meeting
dir. Adam K. Rybanský, FAMU, 18 min., Fiction
Futnet (also known as football tennis) is a typical Czech sport. Almost every village hosts the occasional amateur tournament. And it isn’t just about sports. It’s a beautiful summer Saturday in a small village: People are playing futnet, a rump is being roasted, and everybody is drinking beer. Monday and the worries of the workweek are still far away. Until the moment a team called the Jamaicas appears.
I’m So Tired of Being Alone
dir. Jakub Jirásek, FAMU, 27 min., Fiction
A 23-year-old closeted gay man reunites with his former best friend, whom he loves platonically. But catching up becomes even more difficult when a third friend unexpectedly joins them on their trip to the countryside, eager to take a break from her premature role as wife and mother.
dir. Piaoyu Xie, FAMU, 22 min., Fiction
From the moment Nikola’s girlfriend Ana puts the lipstick on Nikola’s lips, nothing is ever the same again. No one wants to confront or justify any behavior and the secrets grow as wildly as the nettles in the backyard.
dir. Michal Blaško, Adam Mach, FAMU, 9 min., Fiction
An abandoned truck sits along the highway, parked by a forest, outside the parking lot. The license plate is foreign. The driver did all he could to prepare for this special journey, but some unexpected events occurred along the way.
dir. Filip Diviak, 10 min., Tomas Bata University, Animation
This short animated film is set in a cold Nordic country in the early 19th century and tells the tale of an old man who works as an awaker, waking people up. His life is always the same — until one day he gets a shiny old bell.
dir. Alexandra Hetmerová, Kateřina Karhánková, 7 min., Bionaut, Animation
Two hungry bears with a craving for blueberry dumplings set out for the forest to look for berries. But on the way, they come down with a case of the hiccups, which complicates their blueberry picking, and even the most sophisticated methods don’t seem to help. Just when the situation looks hopeless, something unexpected turns out to do the trick.
Fruits of Clouds
dir. Kateřina Karhánková, MasterFilm/FAMU, 10 min., Animation
Furry lives in a clearing surrounded by dark woods with a pack of animal friends. Their only food is rare orange seeds that transform into large glowing fruit as soon as they touch the ground. Furry’s friends are afraid to venture into the scary woods, but he’s bored doing nothing but waiting.
dir. Michaela Režová, UMPRUM, 12 min., Animation
Based on first-person interviews and archival materials, this animated documentary brings back the glory days of Czechoslovak hockey — but also the dark moments from the year 1950. Chase follows not only the players’ personal fates, but also the transformations in society, politics, and culture taking place in the background.
The Little One
dir. Diana Cam Van Nguyen, FAMU, 10 min., Animation
A Vietnamese girl grows up in a European town. As she gets used to what it means to be both at home and a stranger at the same time, her family heads toward a fatal decision. Who will leave? Who will stay? Who is at home here?
The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem
dir. Jindřich Andrš, FAMU, 30 min., Documentary
“I hope everything turns out OK and you’ll get something out of this,” says coal miner Tomáš Hisem at the start of his shift in Ostrava’s Paskov Mine. With a sense of immediacy and in his own distinctive manner, he captures a particular place at a particular time — one day before the Paskov Mine is closed and he and 1,300 other coal miners lose their jobs.
Everything Has Its Own Time
dir. Viola Ježková, 29 min., FAMU, Experimental, Documentary
How do we come to terms with loss? What do we do with what’s left? What is the meaning of memories? When we enter a picture, we leave the frame. We meet ideas of images. And through this encounter we gain a new image: an image of the future.
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